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No Pads, No Footballs, But No Rest For The Weary — Hawk Gridders Gear Up For Fall Season



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The regular season is still a month away, but Newtown High School football players are already into well over a month of intense summer conditioning/workouts and weight-lifting. Under the direction of the coaching staff, the Nighthawks lift weights in the school for an hour before heading outside to the Blue & Gold Stadium turf four days each week from late June until the official start of preseason practices in mid-August. The fifth day, each Friday, is reserved for fun, yet challenging competitions such as the prowler push, tug of war, races with medicine balls held over heads, and tractor tire flips — up and down the field.

The objective is for offseason hard work to pay off once the regular season rolls around.

“You want to build strength, you want to build speed. Ultimately, you want to build power. We want powerful athletes,” said Bobby Pattison, head coach of the Nighthawks. “You might play teams that are bigger than you and stronger than you but you have to show up and compete.

“Showing up is not enough. You’ve got to actually do the work. The kids have bought in,” Pattison said. “We look forward to seeing that translate on Friday nights.”

In addition to building strength, speed, and power, the program is meant to instill a competitive edge in the players with everything they do, Pattison said. His squad is broken into several small groups whose collective efforts are put to the test against counterparts on those Fridays.

“You also get to see them push each other and kids start to lead. It’s great for us to see from an evaluation standpoint,” Pattison said.

Practice begins August 15, and games begin with a home opener versus Class LL Greenwich, an FCIAC team, on Friday, September 9. Newtown, which has played at the Class LL level in past seasons, is a Class L squad this year. The first South-West Conference clash for the Nighthawks comes a week later with a September 16 visit to Bethel. Newtown will face nonconference foe Daniel Hand in Madison on September 23. The rest of the Friday schedule is as follows: September 30 home versus Pomperaug of Southbury, October 14 home versus New Milford, October 21 at Bunnell of Stratford, October 28 home versus Joel Barlow of Redding, November 4 at Stratford, and November 11 home versus New Fairfield. All games are set for 7 pm with the exception of the annual Thanksgiving Eve tilt with Masuk of Monroe, this year set to be played on the road, Wednesday, November 23, at 6 pm.

Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at andyh@thebee.com.

Ryan Schoffstall participates in the prowler push competition during Newtown High School’s football summer workouts. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Sam Kennel, left, and Griffin Clemen work together during tug of war. NHS players looking on are, from left: Ryan Schoffstall, Dylan Magazu, Mack Foss, Alamin Islam, and Ryan Hislop.
Dylan Magazu, left, and Mack Foss flip the tractor tire during a contest. Ryan Hislop, behind Magazu, looks on and awaits his turn.
Cam Longhi runs with a medicine ball during summer training.
Teammates pull the rope during tug of war. Pictured are, from front to back: JJ Haddick, Marco D’Amico, Giovani Vazquez, and Richard Wilford.
JJ Haddick works hard during the tug of war competition.
Coach Bobby Pattison looks to point the Nighthawks in the right direction, beginning with offseason training.
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